Time to ask for a raise? That can set off the panic. What to say? What’s most convincing? What if the boss says no? Let’s begin by looking at whose needs to consider first — yours or the boss’s. Your needs: “I deserve a raise: work very hard, been here over a year, you give me many extra jobs to do” etc. etc. True, but how does that fit with the boss’s primary needs, which go like this: “I want to keep my job (and climb higher), be perceived as running things well with a good support team, don’t raise expenses and keep things smooth for MY boss.”
Now why should you understand your boss’s agenda? Because people listen most intently to that which affects their self-interest. Start your planning by finding ways to show that your request takes into account your boss’s needs. Take a hard look at your work: what can prove your value to your boss? In how many ways have you made his/her job easier, created new ways to do things better, added to the bottom line?
Create a folder with examples that demonstrate details, numbers, innovations, projects. Demonstrate what you have done to enhance his or her department, and describe how you have become an invaluable team member. The boss’s big question is: What will justify raising the budget to include your raise?
OK, let’s discuss what to say. How about starting with “I asked for this meeting because I want to talk about a raise. Of course I understand your budget concerns, and you’re wondering why I should get a raise. So let me show you how I have actually saved you money and how I can do even better for you. I think the facts will convince you that I deserve a raise.”
Then systematically go through your well-organized examples of your work and worth. Show the boss your folder of documentation, but tell him or her you’ll leave those details behind for later study. Focus on your creativity and commitment and describe how those qualities have added value to the company. Describe your ideas for improving systems, coming up with a new product, approach, service, contributing to the team etc. And don’t forget to listen. You can hear the objections and work on them right then and there.
So here’s your checklist:
- Start by analyzing your boss’s needs
- Ask yourself how you have helped him/her
- Document your value/ explain/ leave folder
- Remember that team spirit sells
- End on a high note, no matter what happens
Don’t be defensive and don’t whine! Be positive, factual and comfortable. Let the boss see that you can take it, that you have good answers and that you won’t turn into a bear if he/she denies you the raise. End on a high note, recovering your composure if you’re turned down on the spot. Tell your boss you understand what else he/she needs and will increase your contribution in those areas. Show resilience by saying you’ll be back with some more examples of your good work!
When you ask for a raise while showing an awareness of the whole business picture and your boss’s needs, you will be perceived as a thinking, valuable, supportive member of the group. And one last caution: Don’t threaten to quit unless you already have another job lined up!